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Houston Chapter

Plant Checklists of Greater Houston

As a service to native plant enthusiasts, Plant Checklists of Greater Houston (Houston and surrounding counties) are uploaded or linked here. If your organization has a plant checklist that you would like to post here, please send an email to NPHouston1@gmail.com .

A Checklist of Native and Naturalized Plants of Houston and Vicinity. Including Flowering Plants, Ferns and Fern Allies, Mosses, Liverworts, Lichens. Robert A. Vines and Frederick W. Thurow. Compiled from 1876 – 1963. Copyright by Robert A. Vines, Houston, TX 1964. (sent by Jaime Gonzalez)

A Checklist of the Vascular Plants of the Houston Area by Dr. Larry Brown, 2014, Spring Branch Science Center Herbarium (SBSC), 8856 Westview Drive, Houston, Texas 77055. (Note: Currently this Herbarium is housed at Mercer Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Rd., Humble, Texas 77338-1071.  Contact: 713 274 4160,
Email: atiller@hcp4.net

Deer Park Prairie:  Jason Singhurst, et. al.,  J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 12(2): 721 – 733. 2018, THE VASCULAR FLORA AND PLANT COMMUNITIES OF LAWTHER – DEER PARK PRAIRIE, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS, U.S.A. p. 727 contains “ANNOTATED CHECKLIST OF THE FLORA OF LAWTHER – DEER PARK PRAIRIE PRESERVE”

Other plant lists, including for Nash Prairie, Memorial Park Prairie…at http://prairiepartner.org/plant-lists

—————- Miscellaneous Plant Articles ——————-

Eastern gamagrass:  Article about the eastern gamagrass roots – being able to penetrate a claypan and increase infiltration of water into the soil.  https://efotg.sc.egov.usda.gov/references/public/IL/Eastern_Gamagrass_tn_b_74_a.pdf. See page 3: “The roots of eastern gamagrass contain aerenchyma tissue, which is tissue with air passages (Alberts, 1997)….W. Doral Kemper, retired ARS scientist, explains ‘aerenchyma tissue enables roots to survive and punch through the claypan layer when it’s wet, the only time it’s soft enough to be penetrated’ “…The authors suggest that higher water infiltration rates in the gamagrass plots “may be attributed to the thicker and deeper rooting system of eastern gamagrass, which increases macropore flow.” The authors concluded that “eastern gamagrass increased the infiltration of water and improved soil physical and hydraulic properties…” (sent by Lan Shen)

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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason